The Gift of Laughter

Although not an exhaustive list, my friends – the “Outer Banks” girls, have spent many of our beach getaways coining phrases, inserting new connotations into otherwise ordinary words, and re-quoting the best lines from “Call The Midwife” or “The Chosen” (our favorite shows to stream while retreating). The ensuing laughter could definitely be categorized as the best medicine! True fun!

While others in the world draw their inspiration primarily from music, we seem to draw our “beach” inspiration from laugher, a not so distant relative. Bodywise, laughter actually decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. While increasing the intake of oxygen-rich air, laughter triggers the release of endorphins which promote a sense of well-being. Laughter even provides temporary relief from pain. More please!

Psalm 126:1-2 says, “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ ” C.S. Lewis indicates in his book THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS that the enemy of our souls attempts to eradicate laughter and fun in our lives because these are too closely connected to Heaven’s joys and to God Himself. Can you imagine the feeling of freedom that comes from being released from captivity? I’m sure it is similar to the feeling of all-is-well that comes from lots of laughter. Big doses of relief, restoration, refreshment.

Why music and laughter can be paired together is because both can carry us away by lifting our hearts higher than earth usually allows us to be lifted. We get a little closer to Heaven’s joys somehow. We reach heights that are unusually healing. Lewis says that “fun” is a means of destroying shame. How wonderful! So the reader will understand that Uncle Screwtape urges Wormwood to discourage laughter in THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS.

Ecclesiastes 5:20 says, “For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps [him] busy with the joy of his heart.” Joyful laughter lifts us out of anti-grace, or a low position of not being able to experience how humor ministers to the heart. It raises us to a higher position whereby we experience enjoyment for its own sake. No agendas or hidden motives. Just pure enjoyment.

The SpaceX Starship orbital test flight blew up on April 20, 2023. It had been described in the news as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” – a phrase that presented me and my beach friends the raw material for much laughter as it can apply to many other volatile life circumstances… Don’t get me started… It might be one of our favorite quotes this trip.

For us, the most powerful therapy is arguably laughter. Some may argue music. Some may argue a beautiful sunset. I know laughter to be an immediate source of hope, like a shot of adrenaline. A good burst of laughter is miraculous to the body, mind, and soul. And laughter should be celebrated, not just because it is such a great gift of enjoyment among girlfriends at the beach, but also it foils the attacks of the enemy of our souls on our actual souls.

Isaiah 51:11 says, “So the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Psalm 4:7 says, “You have put gladness in my heart…”

Let laughter transport you to the closest orbit of Heaven, so that you will overcome the disassembly intended to harm your soul. Let laughter bring you the restored hope communicated by a beautiful sunset. Let laughter bring you to understand that it is a special gift of a gracious God. May God keep you busy with the joy of your heart! May it be as beautiful and colorful as a wonderful sunset!

Photo Credit: Joan Mills, Saguaro National Park 2022